Casaubon's Book

Here’s a charming example of corporate bullying - a major chain throwing its weight around so that we can’t wear “Eat More Kale” t-shirts.:

Chick-fil-A sent Mr. Muller-Moore a warning once before, in 2006, but did not pursue that matter. Now, Mr. Muller-Moore and Mr. Richardson are awaiting a response from the company, and they plan to continue with their trademark application.

In a statement, Chick-fil-A said, “We must legally protect and defend our ‘Eat mor chikin’ trademarks in order to maintain rights to the slogan.”

But Mr. Richardson does not think the company’s argument would hold up in trademark court. “We believe it’s pretty clear, the issue of dilution and confusion aren’t really triggered here,” he said. “There’s no one out there that’s going to come forward and say, ‘I thought I was buying a Chick-fil-A product but I got this T-shirt.’ “

I wonder how many cases of people arriving at Chik-fil-A asking for kale have come up? I’m thinking that we should respond to this with a constitutional amendment – the Defense of Kale and Collards Act ;-). Encouraging anyone to eat more greens ought to be constitutionally protected, no? Also makes me want to buy a t-shirt.

Sharon

Comments

  1. #1 Joel
    December 5, 2011

    Chickens enjoy eating kale.

    Also, you are what you eat.

    So kale is the same thing as chicken…

    …pretty certain this doesn’t apply to “mor chikin,” however.

  2. #2 Claire
    December 5, 2011

    What Joel said … and great comment, Joel!

  3. #3 Stephen B.
    December 6, 2011

    I love when real Vermonters fight all the corporate BS….’Reminds me of when my friend’s father, life-time dairy farm Fred Tuttle appeared in Man With A Plan taking on the corrupt world, and then later ran for the US Senate in real life against a Massachusetts millionaire carpetbagger, Jack McMullen, in the Republican Primary. Then too, the governor and the sitting senator came out in support of the *real* Vermonter.

    (The best part of the primary campaign was when Tuttle asked McMullen a bunch of Vermont/rural life questions such as “How many teats a Holstein got” and MuMullen answered “six.”)

    There’s still plenty of real people left in Vermont – as well as the rest of Northern New England, thank G-d!

  4. #4 Robert S.
    December 6, 2011

    I bet Chick-fil-a would be thrilled to have a judge just come out and say, “nope, not infringing, have a good day”. The law is slightly crazy, but as I understand it (IANAL) there is a huge grey area where businesses are required to make a judge say the other party is not infringing, or else they can lose the ability to defend against, say, “eat-mor-cow”. I would love to hear an actual lawyer mention where the grey area ends, or at least where a trademark holders legal requirement to defend ends.

  5. #5 amanda
    December 6, 2011

    ugh- this one really makes me mad… I love the eat more kale guy… dh and I both have shirts from him!

  6. #6 Cath
    December 6, 2011

    At least Bob can spell. How could anyone confuse his shirts with the ridiculous “chikin”? Honestly!

  7. #7 justsomeguy
    December 7, 2011

    How “Christian” of them.

  8. #8 Tegan
    December 7, 2011

    Seconding Robert S. If Chik-Fil-A opted to not sue this dude, but did attempt to sue the example of “Eat mor cow”, if the opposition brought up the fact that what looked like copyright infringement was not sued, Chik-Fil-A would lose their copyright privileges and the phrase could be used by any and all.

    I guess it’s only copyright if you’re an asshole about it. But isn’t that always how it goes? Squeaky wheel and all…

  9. #9 Wow
    December 8, 2011

    Except

    a) you can’t copyright a phrase like that

    b) even if you could, it would have to be identical

    c) you’re thinking of trademarks, not copyright, where you have to defend it or lose it

    But if it hadn’t been for these three errors that render your defense of these barnpots moot, you would have been right.

  10. #10 Tegan
    December 8, 2011

    Ah trademarks. Same dif, right? :-P I’ll admit to being ignorant. I still think that even if it’s not identical, if in the hypothetical situation above, a judge could still toss out a case. I mean, judges are human too so that could be seen as close enough. No idea beyond what seems to make sense to me.

    And yes, I got my information third hand basically — through my fiance and he got it from his JD sister. I’m excellent at playing telephone!

  11. #11 Mrs Woo
    December 15, 2011

    I have an accidental house chicken – she doesn’t like living with chickens and spent much of her early pullet days being sure I was aware of this. She sleeps on my headboard, wears a chicken diaper to contain the mess and spends much of her day bossing me around.

    She LOVES hamburgers, cheeseburgers, the meat/veggies mixture from spaghetti, etc.

    I’ve considered writing to major fast food chains that focus more on beef products and asking if they would like to feature a tame, rather obviously opinionated hen eating cheeseburgers on a few of their commercials…

    Sometimes companies are just crazy on “trademark infringement,” sad but true.

  12. #12 Mrs Woo
    December 15, 2011

    I just looked at the picture of the shirts in the NY Times article. There is no way that they mimic or otherwise infer anything about Chik-fil-a. For one, “more” is even spelled correctly! I hope Chik-fil-a gets thrown out of court with sanctions. Ridiculous.

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